How could the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One help relaunch some of the franchises that time forgot?
Some video game franchises run their course and fade away. Some hit a bump, fail to sell the latest version and get rudely cancelled by a chief financial officer. Some are shelved out of the way and seemingly forgotten, only ever appearing again in crusty old retro magazines.
Here at VG247 we love new video games as much as the next man, but there are some series’ we’d love to see return after a period in the wilderness. Here then are our picks of the game franchises that are long overdue some love, care, attention, and a reboot up the backside.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
A long-time fan favourite and top of the reboot request line, Soul Reaver’s morphing between spectral and material planes felt pretty damn “next-gen” 14 years ago. Combat ended with brutal finishing moves – imagine the justice that NEX-GEN GRAFFIX could do as vampires are impaled, bursting into flames and beheaded.
Uncharted’s Amy Hennig (director of Soul Reaver 2) is currently working on Visceral’s Star Wars game and Glen Schofield (Blood Omen 2) is in charge of overseeing the big Call of Duty project this year. With those two handling story and action we could have something special but they’re both likely to be busy for quite some time.
Likelihood of a reboot: Technically, Nosgoth, the free-to-play online brawler, is a sequel of sorts. It’s not a reboot but we’ve played a fair bit of the beta and we have to admit it’s a good game. Don’t judge it for what it isn’t, judge it for what it is.
Full Spectrum Warrior
You can’t move on consoles for military shooters so how come something as realistic and tactical as Full Spectrum Warrior ended up in a body bag? Probably precisely because it was realistic and tactical.
Full Spectrum Warrior was developed in conjunction with the U.S. Army’s Institute of Creative Technologies to see if commercial games technology could be used to help enhance military training methods. The game itself puts the player in command of two fire teams, issuing orders without directly controlling individual soldiers. In these days of first-person shooters it’s an idea that wouldn’t even get past the initial pitch meeting. Unless of course, it was supported by millions of dollars worth of military spending.
Likelihood of a reboot: Obviously the U.S. Army is using video games to subliminally train the youth to fight when the times comes. All it will take is a trigger word during Call of Duty or Battlefield multiplayer to start the uprising. But a new Full Spectrum Warrior? No.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Oh, Tony. Anthony. What are we going to do? There was a time you were at your absolute peak, dominating every mention of extreme sports on home consoles. Many tried to copy and they all failed. But you fell with them, like a hawk with its wings clipped. Over ambition got in the way. Yearly updates sucked the ideas dry. And then some idiot decided to make a plastic skateboard to control a video game and we all laughed our internal organs up all over the floor.
Likelihood of a reboot: I continue to believe that when Tony gets out of his contract with Activision in 2129 someone else will snap him up and make traditional console skateboarding games like the ones we all knew and loved.
There was a time when Knockout Kings was an annual franchise, with EA putting a lot of cash into marketing it and eventually morphing it into Fight Night. A clever idea there of keeping a franchise alive by changing its name entirely. It was also at this point that EA was perfecting its licensed soundtrack business and incorporating all the gloss that came with the hiphop music business.
Now in the real-world fighting game genre all we’re left with is WWE and UFC. One is old men grappling and the other is young men really, really hurting each other. What happened to the Sport of Kings?
Likelihood of a reboot: All it takes is for public interest to get behind boxing again. The fact Bruce Lee is in the latest UFC game tells us it’s a franchise that’s leaning towards novelty already, so maybe if UFC drops out of favour there will be space for a new boxing title.
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
Tenchu games were great stealth action games where the stealth wasn’t very well implemented but we forgave them because they were so atmospheric. And with a pinch of Japanese horror in the mix, Tenchu finally felt like we were getting the exciting ninja sim we’d dreamed of; violent kills, stalking and unforgiving combat.
The weakness of Tenchu was the poor AI and the shoddy draw distances. Both of those problems have been all but solved in this robo-future we live in, which makes the absence of a decent Tenchu game all the more painful.
Likelihood of a reboot: From Software has the rights to Tenchu and it’s currently making rock-hard Dark Souls and Bloodborne games. If anyone’s going to reboot the series it’ll be these guys, but certainly not in the immediate future.